Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the vaccine: We asked a doctor about vaccines for those with autoimmune conditions

Filed Under: Costs, Patients

Image by Willfried Wende from Pixabay

“Some of our neighbors living with autoimmune conditions have recently asked us whether it’s safe for them to get their Covid-19 vaccine,” Katherine Tam writes for Epicenter-NYC. “In particular, our neighbors have concerns that due to the nature of the drugs being used to treat autoimmune conditions, those treatments’ effects may conflict with the effectiveness of the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.  One concern we’ve heard repeatedly is fear of an adverse reaction when they receive a Covid-19 vaccine. To help answer their questions, we turned to Dr. Mark Horowitz, a family doctor in Lower Manhattan and a friend of Epicenter whom we often ask for medical advice.  First, Horowitz says we need to define what the word ‘autoimmune’ really means: ‘Autoimmune diseases are a broad category of diseases that have in common situations where the body does not recognize its own organs, and therefore attacks in some immunologic way its own organs,’ Horowitz explains.  ‘The most common autoimmune conditions that you hear of are things like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, various forms of thyroid disease, certain forms of diabetes, psoriasis and certain other skin conditions.’ Horowitz says he’s also serving as a medical adviser to CUNY, where he’s having to decide on students’ requests for exemptions from vaccination.  ‘I’m seeing the word “autoimmune” pop up a lot,’ he says.  ‘Sometimes they’re used appropriately.  And sometimes, they’re sort of used as a smokescreen for people who would prefer not to get the vaccine.’”  Katherine Tam, “We asked a doctor about vaccines for those with autoimmune conditions,” Epicenter NYC.